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Out former Olympian Kate O’Brien wins silver in her Paralympics debut

O’Brien, who survived a catastrophic cycling crash in 2017, finished second in the Women’s C4-5 500m Time Trial.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 3
Kate O’Brien is now a Paralympic silver medalist.
Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Kate O’Brien has gone from the Olympics to Paralympics. And now, she’s a Paralympics medalist.

The out para-cyclist took home silver for Canada Friday in the Women’s C4-5 500m Time Trial, completing the race in 35.439 seconds. It is Team Canada’s third medal, and the third for Team LGBTQ.

Kadeena Fox of Great Britain finished first, posting a time of 34.433, a new world record.

O'Brien, who competed as a cyclist at the Rio Games, survived a catastrophic bike crash in 2017. Doctors told her she would never walk, bike or speak properly again.

She’s proved them wrong.

“I never imagined that I would get to compete in the Paralympic Games. I wouldn’t have believed anyone if they told me that I would,” O’Brien posted on Instagram this week. “I don’t do well with change. But, after 33 years on this planet, I am realizing that change is inevitable, and oftentimes, amazing.”

O’Brien’s rehab wasn’t easy. One year after the accident, she started to experience seizures, and almost decided to stop riding.

But in January 2020, she made her debut UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, where she set the world record in Women’s C4 500m Time Trial.

That’s not a bad way to kick off a new athletic career. Kate and her partner, cyclist Meghan Grant, certainly have a lot to celebrate.